You're minding your own business. But you can't help noticing that your
neighbor is building a beauty - the best sailboat you have ever seen. His
investment in it must be huge. Every detail is the subject of exquisite

You ask, "What is this yacht being built for?" "A once-in-a-lifetime race," he
replies. The boat and the forthcoming race are the talk of the town. The race
day finally arrives. Everyone is there. "Our yacht" is easily the finest among
many splendid entries. With pride you watch your neighbor (now a close
friend) open the sails for full speed.

What are the people around you whispering? They are puzzled, "Why doesn't
he use his map?" It is true; the organizers have supplied a chart and
directions for today's race, and each contestant studies them closely. Your
friend's package remains unopened.

Something else is wrong: "Why doesn't he hold the wheel to give the rudder
its direction?" "Why is he drifting at the mercy of the winds and currents?"
With concern you feel the wind freshening. You watch it catch the open sails
and carry the boat along.

Your friend is already off course. He has little chance of winning the race now.
Worse, the winds strengthen, driving him forward at alarming speed. He
seems unconcerned. You can't believe what is happening. With horror you
watch the man and his beautiful craft dash to meet distant cliffs. For all its fine
workmanship, the boat is frail; it breaks up violently against the jagged rocks.
Like you, all the spectators are dumfounded. What a terrible loss. How
needless. How foolish. How tragic.
"Our days quickly pass away and
we fly away!"
The parable of the sailboat is not too far-fetched. Each human is a marvel of design. King David
saw in his own body the art and craftsmanship of the ultimate Master.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that
full well (Psalm 139:14).

He also knew that life is like a race, swift and brief. Our days "quickly pass, and we fly away"
(Psalm 90:10).

Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my
life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before
You. Each man's life is but a breath (Psalm 39:4-5).

Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow (Psalm 144:4).

Each one of us is slipping rapidly through life. Have we thought about where we are going? We
may have set personal goals, but do we know the objective, the real goal of life?

After all, race contestants determine neither the course nor its prize. Organizers decide such
things. Officials set the regulations and judge by them. Anyone who wants to win must run the
designated course by the official rules.

Did you give yourself birth? Are you the source of your own life? Your race, then, belongs to
Another. If He gave you life, He also gives its goal. If He made you, He also plans out your true
course. Your part is to learn His course, follow His rules, and give your best.

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will
not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running
aimlessly... (1 Corinthians 9:25-26).

If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes
according to the rules.... Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this
(2 Timothy 2:5,7).
"Man is destined to die once,
and after that to face judgment."
Have you studied the race instructions? Do you know the Map for life? This
life is the only one you have. The Life-giver assures us that there is no other,
no next time around. "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face
judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). That reality makes this life infinitely precious.
There is no tragedy like wasting this one life, this unique and priceless

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?
Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 18:26).

Most people have goals for gaining worldly things. Yet everything in this world
is already passing away (1 John 2:17). Inevitably, all that is earthly will ground
on the shores of death. So we must have a goal for the soul or spirit, that
inner being that will meet its Maker.

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who
gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Sadly, many are drifting toward that meeting without course or compass. Their
Day Runners, Palm Pilots and other planners are full of earthly details. But
their hearts are careless and their spirits are unprepared. That makes as
much sense as polishing a car until it sparkles, then forgetting to steer while
driving. It is just like paying attention to a boat's details, then failing to guide it
during the race. Perhaps a car or a boat can be replaced. The great
difference with a life is that it cannot be replaced. When a person "forfeits his
soul" the loss is irretrievable - the ultimate disaster.
The truth is, the race is on already. Life's wind is so strong that you cannot turn back. (You
cannot un-live what you have already done.) But, because you are still alive, there is something
you can do. You can take the race more seriously.

True, you had no say about arriving here. But you can say something about where you go from
here. You can purposefully pursue what is worthwhile.

Sure, you had no choice about receiving earthly life. You do have a choice about receiving the
greater gift: "life to the full." You can learn life's goal. You can experience life that is fulfilling and
overflowing. You want the best life for yourself. You want it especially for your loved one. You
have a Friend who has the same goal for you.

I came that they might have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).

What did Jesus mean? It's time to take a closer look. The Map of life is not something to be
glanced at, then set aside. It requires attention. It deserves study.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be
ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

That "word of truth" is Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15-17). We invite you to open the Bible with us. It is
the package from the Organizer of life's race. You, like King David, are "fearfully and wonderfully
made." God invests so much in you because He has a special purpose for you. He has a
course for your life, and a crown at the finishing line.

Here is how to begin your study with World Bible School: Answer the 10 simple questions for
this brief lesson. Each question is based on a Scripture quoted in the lesson. You can then
proceed to two short courses from WBS. The Introduction Lesson discusses reasons for
studying Scripture as the Map for life. Another short course, What Is the Purpose for My Life?
goes directly to the subject of life and its goal (based on biblical books about purpose,
Ecclesiastes and Ephesians). The sails are up, and the wind is blowing. So go ahead and start